County staff train on MUNIS set to go live July 1. Courtesy/LAC
In replacing the County’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, Los Alamos County Deputy Manager Steve Lynne compared it to getting a new cell phone.
“Wouldn’t you be excited about replacing your cell phone? Yes,” he said.
In this case, Lynne said County staff are excited to replace the 25-year-old ERP with a new system from Tyler Technologies. The software, which will consolidate utilities, financial, human resources, purchasing and the procurement process into one comprehensive system, is labeled MUNIS. It goes live July 1.
“I think we are feeling pretty good,” Lynne said.
The rollout of the operating system will occur in three phases. Most of the changes during the first phase will be invisible to the public; however, it will include utilities billing and tracking improvements for the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) orders.
Additionally, Human Resources will move its job applications to online only. Paper applications will no longer be accepted. Human Resources Manager Denise Cassel said people interested in applying for County jobs will be able to setup a profile that will be stored in the system. If applying for more than one job or applying over a period of time, applicants can simply update their information, she said.
Cassell added that applicants must have an email address and applying for jobs can be done anywhere, even at the County Human Resources Office. Three work stations will be setup to apply for jobs, she said.
DPU Deputy Manager Bob Westervelt said the biggest impact to the public will be in the DPU since utilities affects every household in the County.
“The biggest interaction the County has with the public is through utilities,” he said.
One of the changes will be the department’s billing, starting with bill appearance. Customer account numbers are renamed as Customer IDs. The numbers do not change. Additionally, current location numbers will be relabeled as account numbers. Again, the number will not change.
Westervelt emphasized that if customers pay their bills online they will need their customer ID number and account number.
He also cautioned that for customers who pay utility bills through a mobile app, there may be a delay. DPU is working on the conversion of its mobile app to interface with MUNIS. Staff is hopeful it will be ready when MUNIS goes live.
“We are diligently trying make it go live … July 1,” Westervelt said.
DPU customers can still set up auto payment either through their bank or with the utilities department. Some customers also will experience a delay in getting their bills. The first set of bills in the new system are expected to be delayed two weeks. Notifications about which neighborhoods have been billed will
be posted on the DPU website, Rebrand.ly/DPU-NewERP, as well as the department’s Facebook page, facebook.com/DPU1968.
The public is asked to notify DPU if their bill is more than two weeks late, if consumption quantities are high or low or if the dollar amount charged seems incorrect. They can call the Customer Care Center at 662.8333 or email CustomerCare@lacnm.us.
The next two phases of the MUNIS launch will occur later in the year. These phases will include Vendor Online Systems, which include procurement and finance. Vendors can submit bills and be paid all online. Additionally, MUNIS will feature a better procurement system so potential bidders can see what products or services are being advertised for bid. Public Works will offer improved work orders. For instance, residents can log on and report issues such as potholes or burned out street lights. Lynne said these phases will unveil a transparency portal to the public. People can view County financial reports as well as pull any public records they wish to see.
“That phase has a nice new feature for citizens who want to dive into financial transactions,” Lynne said. MUNIS has been a long time coming. According to past County Council meeting agenda documents, work started on replacing the County’s system in 2014 and the total cost for the new system is $3,432,358.
The new system is overdue – Cassel pointed out that reviewing technology every 10 years is it is recommended.
In choosing MUNIS and its vendor Tyler Technologies, Lynne said, “We had a very lengthy requirement process we went through … and at the end of the day Tyler is a very large public sector only company. Based on those requirements we had in the RFP, they met them more than others.”
The benefits to having a new system do not just benefit employees of the County; but the public as well.
Public Information Officer Julie Habiger provided some of these advantages:
- Better real time financial data for managers;
- Cost effective. For instance, the County will be able to sustain, use, leverage support and upgrade this system into the future;
- Improved quality and accessibility of information for department decision making;
- Centralized processing and improved work flow for better tracking in and between departments; and
- Electronic signature processing and overall reduction of paper archives. There will be improved abilities to scan and save documents.
In general, MUNIS will help the County run more efficiently. As Westervelt said, “Everybody benefits from that efficiency.”
County staff have been training on the new system and when MUNIS officially goes live, the County will provide resources and staff to help the community navigate through it.
The public is encouraged to contact the Customer Care Center at 505.662.8333 or e-mail CustomerCare@lacnm.us with questions or concerns.